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Business

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Briefs

Tower sees record ’13 earnings

Tower Financial Corp. on Tuesday reported record annual earnings of $8.11 million, or $1.73 per diluted common share, a 41 percent jump from the $5.74 million, or $1.18 a share, posted for 2012.

The Fort Wayne-based holding company for Tower Bank also reported fourth-quarter earnings of $2.43 million, or 52 cents per diluted common share, a 40 percent increase from the $1.73 million, or 36 cents a share, reported for last year’s fourth quarter.

Mike Cahill, Tower’s president and CEO, said the earnings posted in the last three years have been the highest in the company’s 14-year existence.

“We believe these record numbers are a reflection of the talent of our team members who have worked tirelessly to make Tower successful,” he said in a statement.

That team has been dismantled since late December, however, when Cincinnati-based First Financial Bancorp hired away 15 Tower Bank employees to launch an operation in Fort Wayne.

Tower is also on the brink of being acquired by Old National Bancorp. Tower shareholders are scheduled to vote Friday morning on the sale.

Factory orders dip as aircraft demand falls

U.S. manufacturers saw orders for their products decline in December by the largest amount in five months, although the setback for a key category that tracks business investment was not as large as first reported.

Orders to U.S. factories fell 1.5 percent in December, the biggest drop since July, with much of the weakness coming from a plunge in aircraft orders, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. Orders had risen 1.5 percent in November after a 0.5 percent October decrease.

Orders in a closely watched category that serves as a proxy for business investment declined 0.6 percent.

Plumbers union seeks apprentices in region

Plumbers & Steamfitters Local 166 is seeking applicants to fill at least 20 five-year apprenticeships for plumbers, pipefitters, welders, and heating and air-conditioning technicians. The deadline to apply is Feb. 14, officials announced Tuesday.

Applicants must have a high school degree or the equivalent, be at least 18 by July 1 and pass an aptitude test before being considered for the program.

Wages will begin at $12.32 an hour and will increase gradually over five years to $26.19 an hour.

WorkOne Northeast is helping with the recruitment. For more information, call Local 166 at 490-5690.

US home prices slip from weaker sales

U.S. home prices slipped from November to December and the year-over-year increase slowed, likely a result of weaker sales at the end of last year.

Real estate data provider CoreLogic said Tuesday that prices dipped 0.1 percent in December. It was the third straight month-to-month drop. Home prices had risen for eight straight months through September.

For all of 2013, prices rose a healthy 11 percent.

Weak yen, good sales boost Toyota profits

Toyota Motor Corp. reported a more than fivefold jump in its quarterly profit Tuesday and raised its earnings forecast, crediting a weak yen and strong sales.

Toyota’s profit for the October-December quarter totaled a better-than-expected $5.2 billion, up dramatically from $983 million a year earlier.

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